Friday, March 23, 2007

School's Out....!

Back on Free School Street, the gramophone record-sellers used to be quite the men to look out for, at one point of time. There used to be lines and lines of stalls selling the very oldest and the very rarest LPs here, and they never used to be shy of customers. But, as Premankur plans to write about in a forthcoming story, many of them have switched to selling CDs these days, and so, while there may be a Woodstock LP on the lower shelf, pride of place on the shelf at eye-level is occupied by a CD of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna!

But at least, some other elements of Free School Street remain untouched - the second hand book stores are still there, and so are the shops famous for musical instruments - guitar and piano makers. These guys will have it custom-built for you, if you so desire. :)

The Armenian College is a piece of Free School Street history. It's been here since 1884, and while the institute may no longer be the top draw for higher education in the city, it occupies a very important place in the city and the neighbourhood's heritage. :)

Now, when I took this snap, I had no idea of the role this shop has played in my family history. I took the snap as a joke - lofty sounding Saville Row, sitting next to humble Pritam Traders on seedy Free School Street: perhaps, the proprietors had been in London on the original street...?
Aaa, but then I came back home, and started trying on some old coats of my dad, which no longer fitted him, with the intention of spririting them away for myself, and that's when mum tells me that most of these old suits were tailored for my dad's wedding at... (you guessed it!) Saville Row on Free School Street, which used to be (apparently) quite the fashionable shop during the 1970s and 80s!

Took this one, just cuz I thought it was pretty. I'd wanted cane blinds for my place sometime back, but didn't know where to get them in Bombay. It's something we Bongs call 'cheek' - the kind that we roll down and roll up with ropes. And, here, walking down Free School Street, I see a whole variety of them. Wonder if they do export orders?

These colourful things are called 'khoi bags'. They're party accessories for li'l kids' birthday parties, and yes, I used to have them when I was chhottu. It's usually one large cartoon/coloured/ decorated paper bag, stuffed with 'khoi' and sweets and li'l toys and whistles, and hung up from the ceiling. The birthday boy (that's me) takes a long stick and punches the bag from below, so that it punctures, raining down all the worthless khoi with all the goodies (sweets, toys, etc) and all the kids start hunting for the best of them. Sort of needle in the haystack game. Was actually a lot of fun! :)

And that's the church on Free School Street, right next to the Fire Department HQ. I forget what the name is, but I do think it's grand. *sigh*

No comments: